January 27, 2014, by International Office

Myths about studying abroad

Studying abroad is the perfect way to meet new people from across the globe, develop personal and professional skills and immerse yourself in another culture. The vast majority of students here have the opportunity to study abroad, but there are a number of popular misconceptions that put people off applying.

To help us debunk some of the most common study abroad myths, we asked a few of our students who studied abroad during the 2012-13 year to share their experiences and advice.

Study abroad myth #1: You need to speak a foreign language fluently to study overseas

Caroline Floyd, who is studying BSc Psychology and studied abroad for a year at Tec de Monterrey, writes:

“Not the case at all! On my arrival in Mexico I couldn’t so much as order a sandwich but two months in I could finally chose my filling! Studying abroad is a great opportunity to learn a new language with no prior knowledge. You can study in English so your grades will not be affected. All of the other international students speak English too! Go for it.”

Katie Angus, who is studying BA English and studied abroad for a semester at The University of Nottingham Ningbo China, writes:

“I decided to study abroad in China with knowledge of only one Chinese word: ni-hao (hello). However, at no single point throughout the whole of my study abroad experience did I feel my lack of language skills deterred me from having as much of an authentic experience as I could. In fact, being willing to learn bits of Mandarin, talking in broken Mandarin to street-sellers and other students enriched my experience invaluably. Coming home with some skills in Mandarin – more than I ever expected – was fantastic, and something I was able to continue through night classes at Nottingham.”

Study abroad myth #2: Study abroad is too expensive

Rachel Taylor, who is studying MEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering and studied abroad for a year through the inter-campus exchange programme at The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, writes:

“When someone says study abroad what is your first thought? The most common response would be ‘that must be expensive’ or ‘too expensive for me’. I spent my third year at the Malaysia Campus and during my time studying abroad I spent a similar amount to what I would have spent while at Nottingham UK despite travelling to some amazing countries throughout South East Asia. Tuition fees, accommodation, food and some of the living costs were a lot cheaper and that price difference means you can afford to spend a weekend snorkelling with turtles, riding elephants through a jungle or just popping off to another island with an amazing beach! Reduced costs, bursaries on offer and increased student loans all make study abroad affordable for every student and during your time studying abroad you will get new experiences, new memories and new friends along with that cost. In other words a lot more value for your money. “

Study abroad myth #3: It’s not relevant to my degree

Kate Powell, who is studying BSc Economics and studied abroad for a semester through the University-wide exchange programme at the University of New South Wales, writes:

“As an Economics student, studying abroad gave me insight into how different countries apply economic theory, thus allowing me to gain a new perspective on the material I was being taught at Nottingham. This has broadened my understanding, enabling me to perform better. Even if the subject you study is not typically ‘international’, studying abroad can be relevant in other ways. For instance, studying modules that are not offered at Nottingham helped to highlight an area of interest that I wanted to specialise in during my final year.”

Visit the Study Abroad pages for more information – the deadline for our university-wide exchange programme is Friday 31 January 2014.

Posted in Reflections on studying/working abroad